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Got A New iPad For Christmas? Here’s How To Get Started

Electronics are a popular gift choice for many people around the holidays. After all, they are both sleek and attractive, and they keep us connected in our fast-paced society. One of the fastest growing electronics markets over the past couple of years is tablets, with the Apple iPad leading the pack by a wide margin. These thin, fast, and capable gadgets are the perfect go-between for smartphones and full-on computers, and are the perfect accessory for anyone who likes to stay connected on the go.

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3 Reasons To Bring Your Mom to DWC

If you or a loved one is struggling to master technology, there are classes at the Digital Workshop Center that can help. Ask your doctor if DWC is right for you.

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10 Great Apps to Boost Your Productivity: Part II

A few weeks ago, we introduced 5 out of 10 of our favorite apps in Part I. And we promised we’d give you 5 more. In case you need a little extra productivity boost, here they are!   6. Stayfocused This is a handy little app for any of us who log onto our computers with the intention of working only to find ourselves scrolling through Facebook or Buzzfeed. Living in the era of incessant distraction makes it difficult to accomplish our tasks, whether that be creating reports, designing a logo for a client, or writing the first chapter of our novel. Well, here comes an application that can eliminate those nagging notifications and streamline your noble efforts. Stayfocused is an application that plugs into your Chrome browser or Android phone and will hide any non-productive content for a set amount of time. Its highly customizable settings allow you to block access to specific websites, search terms, or content such as videos and games for however long you like. It can also use timers to remind you to take healthy work breaks, or remind you when you’ve spent too long reading your RSS feeds. If you find yourself having a hard time staying focused, then Stayfocused is just the thing for you!   7. MindNode For the more out-of-the-box and visual thinkers among you, traditional lists and notes may not be the best representations of your brains. Enter MindNode, a planning and creating app that is based on the idea that thoughts are not linear, but spherical. Begin with one simple word or idea and quickly you’ll notice things branching off in multiple directions. This app will help you map and capture it all. MindNode has a clean and visual approach to brainstorming, putting your thoughts and images into single related streams, and is even smart enough to rearrange itself over time. These “mind maps” are formed and saved as image files which can easily be uploaded to cloud drives and Dropbox, shared on social media, and sent to friends and coworkers. MindNode is $9.99 for iPhone and iPad, and $19.99 for the Mac desktop Pro version. If you’re a writer, artist, or innovator, it’s a small price to pay to literally see your trains of thought! 8. Dragon Sick and tired of fumbling with your keyboard or trying to type on a tiny phone screen? Dragon dictation products are here to save the day! This technology uses advanced methods to translate your natural speaking voice into text, whether that is in email, word documents, or text messages. Dragon apps are available for iOS (Dragon Dictation, Dragon Go!), Blackberry (Dragon For E-mail), and Android (Dragon, Swype, Dragon Mobile Assistant), and all harness the same basic voice-to-text idea. These apps make it a breeze to communicate with your friends and family, write blog posts, and email like a tech wizard…and they’re free! Dragon also makes full-scale software programs for desktop computers (both Mac and PC) starting at $149.99. These integrate with your operating systems to bring you a seamless and keyboard-less online life. When you’ve cut your writing time in half with Dragon, you’ll never go back! 9. Pocket I know it’s tempting to click on that video or article that popped up on your social media or the personality quiz your friend emailed you- but those distractions seriously cut into your productive time. It’s hard to remember something that came up on your Facebook feed an hour ago, which is why most of us give into that instant gratification of reading or watching right away. But there’s a better...

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10 Great Apps to Boost Your Productivity: Part I

These days, there is such an abundance of technology that it’s nearly impossible to organize and accomplish tasks- seems counterintuitive, right? Between multiple email accounts, social media sites, and work-related applications, think about how much time you waste just wading through the constant stream of documents and browser tabs. Wouldn’t it be great to streamline your workflow? Employ a set of simple tools to make your days more efficient and user friendly? Well, luckily there are applications out there that can make this possible- you just have to know where to look. And even more luckily, I’ve done it for you! This is Part I of my top ten must-have apps for a clean, organized, and productive life. Look out for the last 5 apps in my next post!   1. Dropbox If you don’t already use this gem, it’s about time that you do. Dropbox allows you to access your files from any computer, anywhere in the world, even from your phone or tablet. You also have the ability to share some or all of your folders with friends, coworkers, and family, making it easy to send those pesky large documents to anyone with a Dropbox account. Got a batch of photos to send to Grandma? Don’t waste your time emailing them! Just upload the entire set to Dropbox, share it with Grandma, and it automatically appears on her computer! Accounts are free for up to 16GB (taking advantage of referral perks) and they offer “pro” and “business” accounts with much more storage starting at $9.99/mo and $15/mo per user, respectively. DropBox is compatible with both Windows and Mac, as well as iOS, Android, Blackberry, Linux, and the iPad.   2. Google Drive The workhorse of the Google app empire makes it a cinch to share documents, collaborate on projects, and access your files remotely. All you need is a Gmail account, and you can easily sync your folders to be opened from anywhere- laptop, phone, tablet, you name it. Plus, it’s great for teamwork, since each user can make changes to spreadsheets and presentations, and with Drive saving your work in real-time, you feel good knowing you aren’t going to accidentally erase this quarter’s budget report! What’s even better is that Drive has a built-in search engine, image and word recognition, and allows users to open any type of file (such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop documents). It’s free to use and is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android platforms.   3. Any.Do This app has garnered an armful of awards, and for good reason. Any.Do is a task and to-do list master, with a sleek interface and easy to use features like voice-to-text conversion, and location and time based reminders. This app syncs perfectly with your computer to shuttle shopping lists, chore lists, and agendas between your devices, so you never miss an important meeting or forget something at the store. Any.do helps you plan your day by prompting you to create to-do lists and reminding you of upcoming events. Any.Do is actually broken down into two separate apps, “Task and To-Do Lists” and “Cal”, but I wanted to lump them together since they really operate best in tandem. Any.Do Cal syncs with your existing calendar apps (Google, Mac, Facebook, etc…) and expands on them, allowing you to view date/time details, make dinner reservations, and alert friends to an important day- all from one screen!   4. Evernote The all-around work and household manager app, Evernote, has gathered a large and dedicated following for its comprehensive and concise platform. Available for desktop and smart phones,...

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Smartphone Gadgets that Continue to Change the Game

Every few months, I like to research the latest smartphone trends and see what best fits my business and me. Recently, I came across a few interesting gadgets that I thought were fun and practical and wanted to share. If you’ve made the move to a smartphone but prefer the old-school feel of a traditional phone while working from your home or office, there’s a gadget for you. The POP DESK by Native Union allows you to transform your smartphone into a more traditional phone with a handset and a slick, modern stand. The $50 stand allows you to use all your mobile phone’s features while giving it the feel of your trusty desktop phone. Another useful smartphone gadget is also good for the environment. The Solio Bolt is a solar-powered phone charger perfect for those on the go, especially in remote areas. Imagine a scenario where you work in the field extensively and use your smartphone for various tasks, such as navigation, the calendar and listening to music. All these tasks drain your phone’s battery, and — unless you have an electric car — you’d have to run your car’s engine to get a power source to recharge the phone. The Bolt allows you to tap into Colorado’s abundant sunshine to keep your phone running for as long as you need it. The $70 Bolt comes with a help guide and a cable to connect to your phone or micro USB device. One more exciting smartphone gadget under development is the Occipital Structure Sensor. This gadget can connect to any smartphone and allows individuals to capture an object in its three-dimensional sense. It’s great for contractors or those who need to build maps, industrial design, or fields where it’s imperative that you understand an object’s dimensions. This will be a perfect tool for those who need to quickly assess the size of a room, such as in construction or real estate. After collecting the data with the OSS, the information can then be easily sent to a computer or co-worker for analysis. Every day there are more smartphone and tablet gadgets released onto the market. If you have any you would like to share, please leave your suggestions in the comments below! If you would like to try any of these handy gadgets but need help using your smartphone, check out our iPhone/iPad 101 class. We’d be happy to help you get started! [Originally published in the Coloradoan on...

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Intro to the iPad: Pros & Cons

The Apple iPad. It is the device that has acted as the paradigm for an entirely new genre of technology. However, it is a relatively large investment. It is also an investment that, given Apple’s recent trends, will be deemed “outdated” in about a year or so. That being said, if you’re ready to dive into the tablet world, there are some things you must know about an iPad before purchasing. What Does an iPad Do Well? Simply put, Apple made the bold statement that the tablet would replace PCs within a matter of years. Whether or not that will happen is yet to be seen, but you can bet that the iPad has undeniable benefits when statements like that are being thrown around. 1. Apple’s App Store: The App Store is undeniably the most attractive feature of an iDevice. As of 2012, there were over 1 million approved applications on the App Store. There literally is “an app for that”: some are pointless, some are mind-numbing, but many have implanted themselves into our lives as must-haves. 2. The iPad will become your go-to entertainment device: Perhaps more than any single thing, the iPad has revolutionized the entertainment industry. Through the aforementioned App Store, the iPad has changed the way we manage media. Take television for example. Through the iPad (and other tablet devices for that matter), cable companies and television networks are being forced to rethink the way they distribute their media. The monopoly that cable was running is, for all intents and purposes, over. Applications such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu all had humble beginnings as Internet streaming services. This was nice, but it required you to sit at your desktop or lug your laptop around in order to watch your favorite programming. With the iPad, however, your programming is truly portable. Sure, you could have used your phone or iPod, but who really wants to watch an episode of The Walking Dead on a 3.5” screen? Now, every Sunday, a new episode of The Walking Dead is purchased through Amazon and instantly available on my iPad. I have the perfect, portable solution to getting my zombie fix every week (commercial free!). Other television networks are catching on with their own applications. Channels such as HBO, Showtime, A&E, NBC, and others now offer “to go” services so that you their shows are available anywhere, any time that is convenient. (HBO, Showtime, and any other subscription-based service do require that you have a subscription with your cable provider.) It doesn’t end with television and movies. Music apps such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Spotify turn your iPad into a portable music library. Also, your iTunes library is available on your iPad. However, if you have a massive library you may not want to eat up all of your available memory with Black Keys and Beatles albums. However, Apple offers iTunes Match ($25 annually) that stores your library in the cloud. Everything you own will be able to download onto your device on an at-need basis. Your iPad also serves as a great e-reading device. If you have a Kindle or Nook account, you can download their apps to access all of your e-books on your iPad. Many popular publications also offer their papers or magazines on the iPad. There are a couple of apps (Pulse and Flipboard to name a couple) that put your favorite news sites, publications, and blogs in a one-stop format.   3. The iPad will become your favorite way to browse the Internet: I mean why not? It’s just so dang portable. You...

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